Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Please Don't Make Me Regret This :)

Have I ever mentioned I don't particularly care for confrontation?

I don't.

It's part of the reason that this particular post has been started and deleted and started and deleted again.

I don't want to make anyone mad. And I especially don't want any mean comments :)

Or a blog riot involving lovely Christian ladies :)

So...I'm going to keep it kind of vague while trying to share my heart...

I've been reading a book...a really really HIGHLY recommended book. One that some had posted on, sharing how it had made them view God in a new or fresh way. This, of course appealed to me!

When it finally came in the mail from Amazon, I couldn't wait to get home, snuggle in and begin.

But my experience with the book has not produced the same reaction as my bloggy friends...which has caused my mind to keep churning and churning.

I am speaking purely for myself here...but I think the reason that the story bothers me, is because it gives God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit a narrative voice. The "voice" comes from the author...not from God Himself. Much of the authors ideas are good, BUT...and this is a BIG BUT, it's still just a human authors words...we may wish Jesus had put it that way or really relate to it, but ultimately it's a human writer putting words in the mouth of...Jesus.

*Sigh* That, makes me uneasy.

If I want to see what God has to say, for Himself...I go to the Bible...He wrote it...He revealed Himself in there the way He desired...does His heart break that I feel the need to search Him out in a new way in some human authors book, rather than His own?

I love books that help me understand God...that explain His Word to me...but putting words in Jesus' mouth, it just doesn't settle well with me.

It's not that I want to keep God in a box...by all means, I want Him to show me where I am limiting Him, where my understanding is small...it's just that I want that knowledge to come from His written words...not the ideas of any human man.

I may be the only person on this planet who doesn't love this book.

*I totally understand that the other millions of people who've read this book totally and utterly disagree with me...I'm cool with that, and if God is changing you through this book, I say amen! You don't have to convince me of it...I already believe you...just sharing "my version"...since it's my blog and all...so be ye kind in the comment love ;)*


  1. I agree with you.

    And I don't plan on reading it.

    lol, but it's a beautiful sunrise this morning, isn't it.

  2. Wow, that is interesting and scary at the same time. We bought the book for the same reason, but have only gotten past the forward, and into the first chapter where the dad takes the kids camping and is describing the area. In this case, maybe it is good we are busy with moving and life in general. Thank you for the "heads up!"

  3. This book certainly brings out strong feelings in it's readers. When I read it I just cast it off as a piece of fiction, nothing more. But I know it really upset some folks. Maybe I am not very discerning?? ;o)

  4. Well, I guess it's because I'm not a "lovely Christian lady" because I don't know what book you're talking about it.

    However, I would side with your intuition, and seek Him first via His Word and His Spirit.

  5. I TOTALLY agree with you. That's why I haven't had any desire to read it and my husband decided he didnt care to finish it. So...no regrets needed. :)

  6. You are definitely not alone. I have read a lot of controversy around this book for that very reason (and some others). I have gone back and forth about whether I read it and just KNOW that it's fiction or if I just don't read it and my decision has been not to read it at all. Thanks for your honesty.

  7. I know exactly which book you're talking about it. It IS highly recommended. I'm about halfway through it but haven't picked it up in weeks. At first I thought it was a true story and then found out that it's not and that's bothering me. I'm backed up about it too. Not sure if I'll ever finish it...

  8. I'm not sure what book you're talking about, but I wouldn't worry at all. Your opinion of the book is what makes book clubs so much fun. If everyone shared the same opinion or had the same life-altering reaction, how boring would that be?! :)

  9. Thank you! I read it after my mom went on and on and on about it. And I was trying to be objective when I read it. One of the first "red flags" for me was that my Mom, until I read it and then checked out the website and corrected her, thought it was a true story. Which, for her, meant that you couldn't "judge" (or discern) what he was saying or implying about who God is. And I'm sure a lot of people are under the same impression that it is a real story.

    Also, on a lighter note, it also drove me crazy that "God" would speak with a heavy southern accent for a few lines and then the next would have a proper, Max Lucado-ish piece of dialogue. Drove me loony from a literary point of view! :)

    So you're not alone!(And I'm a pastor's wife too.)

  10. I read it as totally a fiction book- kinda like the left behind series.
    It didn't in spur me on as the Word does. I think if anything it reveals the Father's heart for relationship. I guess it's like everything you take in- filtering it though truth.
    I love to read things I even I completely disagree with just to understand the heart behind it and the perspective. Which maybe is a fine line, and I keep rambling, so I'll shut up.
    Thanks for being real!

  11. I am so proud of you for sticking out your neck and offering a different point a view about something that is very popular. I have not yet read the book that you "mentioned," but do know that it is adored. I have a bad habit of going with the flow...not always intentionally, but I don't always allow my mind to question, research, dig deeper. This is a good reminder for me that to use discernment when reading any book.

    Wise words my friend.

  12. Interesting you should post on this book today, because I've been wondering why I haven't been able to finish it. I've been working on it slowly for months.

    I agree that like any Christian fiction book, it has to be read as one, rather than as a spiritual authority. It is one viewpoint, and a hypothetical one at that.

    I do think it's silly that some Christian bookstores have banned it, but interesting that people claim it has completely changed the way they view God. That's what scripture is for. Of course we can learn from other authors, but not in the place of the word of God. Needless to say, the book you are talking about it is a compelling book.

    Thanks for your thoughts. I think I'll go finish the book now.

  13. all the love girl! like i said...we're sistas no matter what?! thanks for your honesty!

  14. You are so funny! I love your title "Please don't make me regret this". I've read zillions of books that people LOVE... some I completely disagree with and I, too, am leary to say anything. But, usually those ones are in the Christian self-help category and I disagree with them calling what they say "truth". I devour fiction books...and love it when a fiction book gives me new insight to God's love for us and His complete forgiveness when we come to Him. And I appreciate it when it's not thrown out there as truth...but fiction....and spurs your thinking about God.
    I completely agree - the Word has the answers.

  15. This is precisely why I heart you and your blog so much!

    I don't know what book you are talking about (though I am desperately curious now... might have to go start scouring blogs to find out which one it is; don't think I've read it because I don't remember reading anything where God has a "voice") but I am proud of you for taking a stand. I have this same problem with lots of Christian books. While they offer wonderful insight and thoughts to ponder, they are NOT the Word of God. Everything we read pertaining to God, Jesus, Christianity, etc. MUST line up with the Bible.

    Jesus didn't conform to the masses, either. So take heart, you just exemplified a very Christ-like attitude.

    I hope you have a wonderful day! :)

  16. If I'm thinking about the book you are thinking about...I have heard the controversy. I haven't read it for myself, but wondering if I should so that I could form an opinion. I have had several people in my church ask me about it and I don't have anything intelligent to say. I have no desire to read it, but maybe I should.

  17. actually, thank you for saying that! i was skeptical before i read the book and i couldn't put my finger on why... and i think this is it. not that God COULDN'T or WOULDN'T say some of the things the author wrote for him in that book... it's just that He didn't say them! but i agree with what others have said. it's a work of fiction and i think you can read it like that. but it's not a divine revelation from anybody. okay, have a wonderful day!!

  18. See, everybody loves you, no mean comments here! :) I haven't read it, but my mom has. She had her questions about it too. Not sure if I'll read it or not...it is so interesting to me that there are such wide-spread views on it...some say it's the best book they've ever picked up, and then I hear others being much more cautious about it. Think I'll just stick with the Bible. :)

  19. I'm also not sure which book you are talking about but I think it is great that you took this stand to offer a different opinion than perhaps the majority. I have had similar experiences with other popular books that are completely recommended and promoted throughout churches and small groups and just Christian communities in general - and I struggle whenever people say they are really encouraged by them. Not because we aren't all motivated by different things, but because there are some things - even in mainstream Christianity - that are just "off" and then I wonder, what is it that people are being really encouraged towards if it's not really grounded in Biblical truth. Yet, just another way deception is so sneaky (deceptive!) and frustrating. Always seek the truth and compare things to the Word and God Himself.

  20. I haven't read this, I have seen it at work, I wasn't aware of the controversies till this post.
    I like that you voiced your struggles in the book and put it out there. It is fiction but people will take many things away from the book. Just like the book I brought up on my blog that ended up a bit controversial, it goes back to how YOU read...some read poor doctrine in a book and just by pass it without being influenced or bothered by it, others are offended, others are too influenced by wrong doctrine in fiction to NOT be swayed and should NOT read such books. We are all different, our expectations of each book and author are different. Can God use an book full of poor doctrine to speak in a heart....sure. Can Satan use that same book to sway someone away from what is correct... sure. Funny isn't it, that it IS NOT BLACK AND WHITE! A book can be both "good" and "Bad"...beneficial and harmful. I think it is great to discuss it all! Be open minded but GROUNDED in God's Word as well. Be guarded. We are commanded to WATCH for false teaching.
    Fiction is powerful, even as fiction.
    Good for you to warn those that may be influenced the wrong way while not condemning those who have been blessed by it.
    love you!

  21. Well, I totally disagree. While the book shouldn't be taken as "Black and White" and IS a work of fiction....I think God can still speak through it. I think people need to read the book for themselves and come to their own conclusion and not just take someone's word for it. Is that mean? I hope not. I have people in my life, who grew up in church and haven't stepped a foot inside a church building in years, much less pick up the Bible...but read this book. It's opened up dialog that I never thought would happen. I think what happened "in the woods camping" could really be ANYTHING that has been damaging to someone...
    I don't think it's about loving the book. I think it is about opening up a new way to look at The Trinity....and about relationships. Just my opinion.

  22. dear new friend,

    i think there might be a possibility we were separated at birth.

    much love,

    ps - totally know the book, totally read it, totally feel the SAME way! :)

  23. I completely agree with you.
    I read the book because my sister LOVED it and bought it for me, wanting to discuss it. She actually attended a church for awhile that hosted a Bible study based around the book...
    I don't like depressing stories so I didn't like it for that reason. But I also felt that, while it did do a fine job of representing certain things I believe to be true in the Bible, it also stepped over into a lot of things that I would view as part of the "beyond our understanding" stuff, leaving it totally open to the author's opinion.
    I took it as fiction and didn't really care, but I was concerned for anyone who maybe isn't very Biblically grounded taking it as doctrine.
    Don't feel bad. I think it's great for you to be honest, and it's actually kind of refreshing to find someone who isn't singing the praises of this thing.:)

  24. Could someone help me out and tell this clue-less wonder what book we're talking about!

  25. heartreflections: It's a book called The Shack.

    I love hearing your (kind) opinions :)

    It truly is amazing the different feeling and viewpoints it brings out!

  26. Sarah, I don't think you should be afraid to voice your opinion over a book, or even to mention its title. You're right - it's just a book, a work of fiction.

    I think that's what people need to remember - it's fiction. It is not a true story. However, what I think the author was trying to do was create a picture of the different aspects of God. It was a personification of Him, an allegory. Some liken it to a modern day Pilgrim's Progress.

    I think if you can remember that, it changes how you read the book. Many of us had thought at the beginning it was a true story - if it had, would it have changed our perspective of what the author said?

    We can also look at it as a good starting point for discussion - how many people will read this book and then turn and seek out more of God?

    That's just how I choose to look at it! I agree with you - to know what God is TRULY saying, we only need to look to Him and His Word.

  27. Knew immediately what you were referring to, and had heard the same accolades. A friend offered me a her copy, but only for a few days, so I had to zip through it...and I, too, found myself uneasy. Any time we personify God in words and ways that He doesn't express Himself, we walk on dangerous--and holy--ground.

    That said, I kinda like it when someone puts something out there that stirs the waters and starts conversations like this. It is opportunity for growth and education and interface, and can be a good thing. (Kinda like the whole DaVinci Code controversy--I got to share Jesus Christ with my whole book club over that one! Yea!!)

    It kinda reminds me (if you can reach back this far) of the controvery surrounding Frank Peretti's first big hits. People were worked up on both sides of the issues, and he, too, walked some lines I wasn't totally comfortable with. But what Frank was trying to do was say: "We need to be aware that we are in spiritual battles, and we need to pray." And the controversy allowed a momentary spike in those realizations in the Christian Community. Perhaps this book will do the same.

    Never fear, sweet sister. Your caution is well-founded and much shared. ;-)

  28. P.S. I do know that there is an 's' in controversy... :-(

  29. I thought it was a cool fiction read...but nothing more than that...creative writing, but not where I would go looking for theology...

  30. the only person i know that has read it commented right before me...

    i don't think i'm running out to buy it!

  31. p.s. i can't figure out how to "follow" you...am i crazy, or is there nothing to click on that says "follow me"?

  32. I just couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. I didn't think it was all that well written, and then I learned it was the author's first book. The one line I did take away that I loved was about (of course, I can't even quote it now) forgivness being letting go of the other man's throat. I liked that.

  33. I have this book in my "to read" pile, but only because another blogger sent it to me. She asked for my opinion on it. She wasn't that thrilled with it (despite friends who were), and said she'd love to know what I think. So I told her I'd read it.

    I plan to read it as a work of fiction, though.

  34. I don't know anything about the book and I totally repect your analysis of it. As it happens I disagree many times with popular opinion of books and movies. I wouldn't mind reading it for curiosity's sake in my spare time. When I have the energy I welcome the debate in what I believe, know and learned prior to what the book suggests. All spiritual references should come from the word of God. Personal opinion is not fact.

    I was browsing and found the blog "Sleeping with the Pastor" and happened upon yours. I was impressed with your profile and decided to stop by. I have two daughter in laws your age who are also pastor's wivies. May God bless you and your husband's ministry.

    Proverbs 3:5&6

  35. OK, what the heck book are you talking about so I don't waste my time reading it? Email me if you don't want to say.

  36. Watch out for that Sarah, she's con-tro-ver-shul.

    If I could find the time to read anything other than the bible and the internet, I'd pick this one up and check it out for myself.

    Dang internet.

    You make some very good points. I can also see where the other people are coming from, fiction is fiction.

  37. I thought it was a good book and knew it was fiction - keeping that in mind- and I also took some great things from it about relationships and forgiveness.
    I do respect your opinion though!!! Love your blog!

  38. My husband love love loved the book. I am struggling through it right now. The author makes a comment in the preface that if you dont like it...its just not written for you. I thought it was a little abrupt of a statement at first. But I think that it appeals to certain people at certain places in their journey. And I also think that it is imperative to jump back to scripture while reading and make sure we are on track.

    And dang....I was looking for a good blog fight!

  39. I agree with you. I like to hear God speaking through His Word, which is the only place we can hear Him speaking, hence the reason we need to pick it up and read it! I've heard about this book, but also heard the negative reviews. I look a good book like the next person, but I'll stick to listening to God through His Word.


Thanks for commenting, you make blogging fun. :) If your comment doesn't appear right away, it's because it's awaiting moderation, but it will show up soon!

Web Hosting Pages